This week saw the final episode of The Tragical Past and Mysterious Present of Sodem Hall, this year’s soap opera from Impropriety. Knowing full well what our local impro chums are like having put a few shifts in as an audience member of their 33-hour non-stop event earlier In the year, it was a bit stupid to turn up to the last of six shows and expect to know what’s going on, but then again, even the cast joked they couldn’t keep up.
But that’s all part of the fun. The show started with a recap, introducing all our characters. A supposed lost work of Dickens, the plot was full of upstairs-downstairs intrigue, shady underworld figures, separated lovers, tarts with hearts and one poor worker whose misfortune had seen him inadvertently kill large numbers of people in previous episodes.
The final episode was looking to tie up the loose ends of six weeks of improvised drama, and find out who had murdered Lord Sodem of Sodem Hall.
It’s real fun getting to know the players of Impropriety, to recognise faces and comedy styles, and see how the cast interact with each other. The boys – including the ever-watchable Paul Robinson, Trev Fleming, Ed Croft, Ian Hayles and Owen Scrivens – are great fun; but as has previously been the case with this company, it was the ladies who proved to be the larger than life comic characters this time, including Angie Waller as Lady Sodem, Danielle Malone as Cockney streetwalker Imelda Hyde, and Keddy Sutton as Irish traveller Tara O’Card. Siobhan O’Donnell, Cat Foley and Katie Cross completed the cast on this occasion.
The format of a weekly soap is a great idea, but for me didn’t seem to work quite as well as either the short flashes of their one-off nights or their rolling impro marathons. But maybe that’s an unfair observation, as only catching one out of a series doesn’t really give a taste of what had gone before.
It all came to a brilliant climax though, with a remarkable Sondheim-esque number to finish the show, with each character repeating a single lyrical phrase to sum up their entire character’s journey in just a few words (anything from ‘my evil cape didn’t work’ to ‘I love zombies’), interweaving with the other players to skilful effect.
Weird, wonderful and hilarious, as ever, Impropriety are well worth heading to the Kazimier to check out.
Photo credit: ABPhotography